Changes in BDNF serum levels in patients with major depression disorder (MDD) after 6 months treatment with sertraline, escitalopram, or venlafaxine

Francesco Matrisciano, Stefania Bonaccorso, Angelo Ricciardi, Sergio Scaccianoce, Isabella Panaccione, Lily Wang, Amedo Ruberto, Roberto Tatarelli, Ferdinando Nicoletti, Paolo Girardi, Richard C. Shelton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

164 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent studies have implicated brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the pathophysiology of depression and the activity of antidepressant drugs. Serum BDNF levels are lower in depressed patients, and increase in response to antidepressant medication. However, how BDNF responds to different classes of antidepressant drugs is unknown. We assessed serum BDNF levels in 21 patients with major depressive episode treated with sertraline, escitalopram, or venlafaxine and 20 healthy controls. Serum samples were collected between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. at baseline, 5 weeks, and 6 months of treatment. BDNF levels were measured via immunoassay. The severity of symptoms and response to treatment were assessed by the Hamilton rating scales for depression (HRSD). Baseline serum BDNF levels were significantly lower in depressed patients compared to controls. Sertraline increased BDNF levels after 5 weeks and 6 months of treatment. Venlafaxine increased BDNF levels only after 6 months. Escitalopram did not affect BDNF levels at either time point. A significant negative association was found between percentage increase in BDNF levels and percentage decreased in HRSD scores after 6 months of treatment. In conclusion, these results suggest that different antidepressant drugs have variable effects on serum BDNF levels. This is true even though the three different drugs were equally effective in relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-254
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
  • Depression
  • Escitalopram
  • Neuroadaptation
  • Sertraline
  • Venlafaxine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Matrisciano, F., Bonaccorso, S., Ricciardi, A., Scaccianoce, S., Panaccione, I., Wang, L., Ruberto, A., Tatarelli, R., Nicoletti, F., Girardi, P., & Shelton, R. C. (2009). Changes in BDNF serum levels in patients with major depression disorder (MDD) after 6 months treatment with sertraline, escitalopram, or venlafaxine. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43(3), 247-254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2008.03.014